Photographs by Laurie @ Horizons Photography

September 23, 2010


It seems like forever but it's actually only been 2.5 years since Josh came into our lives. I remember the first time I saw him. All the little things that I began to look forward too. There were moments when we didn't think those things would ever happen. I remember one morning before we went in to see Josh, Tim and I prayed that we would have some sign of life from him. I jokingly said 'if he opened his eyes and squeezed my finger I would be forever happy'. We walked into CCU expecting nothing different from every other day. The nurse was fixing his medicine and we asked her how his night had been. When Josh heard our voices he opened his eyes and looked at us. It was the first time we had seen his eyes in a lucid state. We went to his bed, Tim on one side and me on the other side and we each took his hands. At the same time he squeezed both of our fingers. Tim and I both had tears in our eyes and in many ways we consider that to be the moment that he was born. It was a miracle that promised many more miracles to come.

Through all those months, I would think about the future and look forward to the day that he would look at me with love, call me Mummy and show me affection on his own. There were moments when it was all I had to hold onto and there were moments that I thought it would never happen.

This week Josh finally is starting to say Mummy for the first time, just this morning he yelled Mummy a bunch of times and then ran up to me, hugging my legs nice and tight. I think back to the moments of terror, worrying and fear that he might not come out of all of this... and I am so thankful, and I find myself sitting here in a place of awe and wonder. That no matter what this child, or Kaleb does, no matter how many temper tantrums, no matter how many time outs, or just plain worrying things that they put me through. It takes only one small moment, one gesture, one word and the rest evaporates and becomes a mist in my memory. It doesn't matter, not now and not in 20 years when I am looking back on these times with a fondness and longing. I won't be thinking about the time he threw the whole box of toys on the ground or threw Buzz light year at his brothers head, I will be thinking about the first time he said 'ummy' or the first time he held my hand in a movie because he was worried about the characters.  I will look back and see their smiling faces. I will look back and think of their antics with fondness, maybe even a laugh as I share the times that they tortured the dog, or the time Josh tried to talk Kaleb into the dog kennel, or even the time Josh ran away and the neighbour had to return him. When it's all said and done, I will look back and know love.

September 22, 2010

In loving memory of Janet Rogers (Auntie Jen)

100 years beautiful!

In one lifetime...

Can you imagine reaching 100 years old. To find yourself looking back over an entire century? This is all that has happened in the lifetime of Janet Rogers, my Great Aunt.

1910: Edison shows the 1st talking motion picture
1911: Kettering invents the 1st automotive ignition system
1912 - LifeSavers candy introduced
1913: the modern brassiere and crossword puzzle are invented
1914 - gas mask invented in time for WWI
1915 - Pyrex invented
1916 - Model T Ford prices fall to $360 -- half the 1911 price
1916 - stainless steel invented
1917 - modern zipper invented
1918 - Armstrong's core design for super heterodyne radio circuit - which eventually becomes universal
1919 - short-wave radio invented
1920 - Band-Aid invented
1921 - 1st robot designed
1922 - insulin invented
1923 - Garrett Morgan granted patent for the traffic signal
1923 - Clarence Birdseye introduces frozen food
1924 - spiral-bound notebooks first appear
1925 - Baird's mechanical TV demonstrated
1926 - Robert Goddard's first liquid fueled rockets tested in Auburn, MA
1927 - Farnsworth's electronic TV demonstrated
1928 - Fleming discovers penicillin; Schick patents the electric shaver
1929 - Zenith Radio starts year as lowest priced stock on NYSE -- ends
year as highest priced stock due to demand for its radios; Paul Galvin (later president of Motorola) invents the car radio
1930 - Scotch tape invented at 3M; first jet engine designs
1931 - electron microscope invented
1932 - good year for photography: Land invents the Polaroid process; zoom lens and light meter are also invented
1933 - stereo records developed
1934 - first magnetic tape recorders for broadcasting
1935 - Dupont invents nylon; radar first developed; and beer is canned for the first time
1936 - Colt's revolver patented
1937 - photocopier invented
1938 - ballpoint pen and Teflon invented
1939 - Sikorsky's first helicopter flown
1940 - Jeep designed
1941 - aerosol spray cans developed
1942 - turboprop engines designed
1943 - synthetic rubber invented, along with the Slinky and Silly Putty; Cousteau co-develops the aqualung
1944 - synthetic cortisone developed
1945 - atomic bomb developed and used
1946 - microwave oven invented by Percy Spencer after he melts chocolate bar in his pocket
1947 - Schockley-Brattain-Bardeen invent the transistor
1948 - Velcro and the jukebox invented
1949 - prepared cake mixes introduced
1950 - Diner's Club introduces first credit card
1951 - Super Glue invented; so is first video tape recorder
1952 - first bar code patent issued; first diet soft drink developed
1953 - transistor radio invented at Texas Instruments (TI); radial tire developed
1954 - oral contraceptives invented; Ray Kroc starts franchising McDonald's
1955 - tetracycline & optical fiber invented
1956 - first use of computer hard disk
1957 - Fortran developed
1958 - Noyce (at Fairchild Semiconductor) and Kilby (at TI) both submit patents for integrated circuits
1959 - important to generations of girls -- the Barbie Doll is introduced
1960 - halogen lamp invented
1961 - valium invented
1962 - audio cassettes developed
1963 - pop-top cans
1964 - BASIC computer language; permanent-press materials
1965 - Astroturf; Kevlar; soft contact lenses
1966 -electronic fuel injection developed for cars
1967- first handheld calculator
1968 - Douglas Englebert invents the computer mouse
1969 - ATM machine invented; Arpanet also appears and bar code scanners developed
1970 - Alan Shugart (chairman of hard drive supplier Seagate) invents the floppy disk
1971- Intel's 4004 is first microprocessor design; dot-matrix printer, VCR and LCD displays also invented
1972 - first video game -- Pong -- invented
1973- gene splicing invented; Ethernet networking invented at Xerox;
BIC develops disposable lighter; Black-Scholes pricing model developedfor options
1974 - Post-it Notes and liposuction invented
1975 - laser printer developed
1976 - ink jet printing invented
1977 - magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) invented
1978 - Visicalc spreadsheet introduced for PCs; first PC models appear
from Heathkit, Apple, Radio Shack
1979 - Walkman invented by Sony; roller blades developed; Seymour Cray designs the supercomputer
1980 - vaccine for hepatitis-B invented
1981 - IBM introduces the PC and MS-DOS appears for the first time
1982 - human growth hormones genetically engineered
1983 - soft bifocal contact lenses introduced
1984 - Apple Macintosh popularizes the graphical interface; CD-ROMs invented
1985 - Microsoft brings out Windows 1.0
1986 - Microsoft's initial public offering (IPO); first disposable camera introduced
1987 - disposable contact lenses invented
1988 - Doppler radar invented; first patent issued for genetically-engineered animal issued
1989 - first HDTV broadcasts in Japan
1990 - Tim Berners-Lee develops protocol for both World-wide web (WWW) and the Hypertext Markup Language (HTML)
1991- first digital answering machine
1992 - smart pill invented
1993 - Intel introduces Pentium family of 32-bit microprocessors
1994 - first Internet audio broadcast from Interop
1995 - DVD invented; Java language launched by Sun Microsystems; RealAudio broadcasting introduced
1996 - WebTV introduced
1997 - gas-powered fuel cells developed
1998 - Viagra developed
1999 - is formed and the search engine goes into beta test publicly
2000 - mapping of human DNA completed
2001 - Wikipedia, (a free online encyclopedia written by volunteers) is launched
2002 - American Idol aires for the first time
2003 - The US invades Iraq in 'Shock & Awe'
2004 - Tsunami swamps Indonesia
2005 - The first 'You Tube' video is uploaded
2006 - Twitter was launched
2007 - The iphone is unvieled
2008 - President Fidel Castro announced that he was retiring as Cuba's head of state
2009 - Micheal Jackson dies
2010 - September 21st at 9:00pm Janet Rogers died.
Auntie Jen will be missed by so many, she was a warm, loving generous woman. She is home now with her husband of 60 years, Uncle Bob.

September 20, 2010

The burden of responsibilty

When I was a kid I had a swing set in the back yard. It had a slide and two swings and we (my sister and I) could spend hours swinging on that set. We would sometimes rest our tummy’s on the seats and spin the swing around and around allowing the chains to get twisted and tight. When the chains couldn’t be twisted any more we would lift up our feet and release the chain, allowing the swing to spin us around and around. We would step away from the swing afterwards feeling sick and dizzy but laughing all the same.

I remember one such time as I was walking away from the swing I tripped in my dizzy state and fell, scraping my knee on the hard ground. I hadn’t been on the ground for long when my Mom came and scooped me up into her arms and kissed the hurt away. I was safe, loved and comfortably secure.

I find myself doing the same thing for my children, sometimes causing my husband to tell me that they are manipulating me. I want them to know that I love them, I want to raise them to know that they can come to me no matter what they have done, or whatever happens to them. I want them to trust me. I don’t want to let them down. I want them to look back in the years to come and remember a time they fell, and in that memory I want to be the one who quickly scooped them up and loved them.

I want to find a balance between smothering, and allowing for mistakes and freedom.

It was my Dad who never judged me, not even when I did things that got me into real trouble. It was him who loved me and let me know that despite what trouble I get into he won’t stop loving me. He would sit and talk with me, not yelling, just listening and hearing me. Not that we didn’t have our fights, of the two of my parents my Father and I are most alike which has caused us to clash more than my Mom and I. However, to be told that I am like my Dad makes me proud. I want to be able to sit and listen to Josh or Kaleb tell me that they have done something wrong, and I want to listen to them. Love them and let them know that while there are consequences there will be no judgements on them as a person.

Why am I writing all this down in a blog? I am asking myself the same questions. I think that my heart is heavy with the burden of being a mother. It is like all of a sudden I have realized the depth of the responsibility placed on me. To raise men, good, loving, strong, independent men takes work, love and prayer. That is my job and up until now it hadn’t really hit me. Then, when my job is done I have to find the strength to let them go, to allow them to love another woman, to share everything with her and I need to find a way to be okay with that. I think I will need to pray every day that I find the strength to do that, that I am mother enough to let them go and watch from a distance as they grow in their manhood.

Sometimes I wish I had a girl… although I guess that suggests another whole host of worries.

September 19, 2010

Mothers instinct

When I got pregnant with Josh, or rather when I found out that I was pregnant with him, my mind was instantly filled with all the hopes and dreams that impending motherhood brings. I could picture him as an infant cuddled up to my chest, running as child chasing a football or skating down the ice with a stick and a puck. I didn't realize all the other things that go along with motherhood, I had no idea the amount of worry, anxiety or flat out fear that comes with it. No one told me that I would be forever changed, they told me that my life would change yes, but not me. I had no idea that from the moment I learned I was carrying him, I would never again be the old Laurie.

When I was just 20 weeks pregnant I learned that there was a possible complication with Joshua's heart. Suddenly things changed. Gone was the excitement of a first pregnancy. I no longer thought about what it would be like to bring him home, instead I hoped and prayed that I would be able to bring him home. The doctors were not hopeful, we were told to prepare for the worst, we were told to decide about an autopsy, to bring a camera so that we could have some pictures of him. We were told to prepare ourselves. I couldn't, what mother could? I refused to believe that I wouldn't raise my child, I refused to believe that I wouldn't hold his hand while he took his first steps, or that I wouldn't feel his arms wrap themselves around my neck. I just couldn't allow my mind to go there. So I prayed, I believed.

On January 1st 2008 I felt something strange happening, it wasn't a physical thing. I felt nothing wrong, but my gut told me that something just wasn't right. I went to the hospital and they began to prep me for a c-section at 29 weeks. It was way too early. Josh was way too small and his heart problems were just way too big. They wanted to take him none the less. I was told that I had an unfriendly womb, I was told that he would die. After much prayer on our parts the doctors decided to wait and see how things progressed. I still remember it... they were doing an ultrasound, no could find movement at all and they were seriously worried. Tim and I were watching and willing him to be okay... just when the doctor wanted to give up and take him out Josh's arm shot out and punched me... really hard, right where the doctors hand rested on my tummy. My little fighter wasn't ready yet.

On January 31st I woke up knowing that again something wasn't right. At 1:PM I could no longer feel movement. I was in the hospital and OR prep by 7:30 that night. As Tim signed the consent forms and they wheeled me out of the room I could hear the doctor tell Tim that Josh's chances were slim, that we should prepare for his death.

At 9:50 the doctors took Josh from me. He had wrapped the cord around his leg a miraculous 8 times. Doctors to this day still tell students about his birth, he had even made medical journals. He was just over 4lbs and remained that way for a month. He fought hard though, he struggled through heart surgery, heart procedures, he dealt with a stroke, physio & occupational therapy and now he is a happy 2 and a half year old. Though not healthy he is strong and he is a fighter.

I had realized during his struggle to live that I would always have to worry about his health, I knew that I would always need to trust my instincts with him and listen to my gut when it came to his health. It saved his life a few times.

Yesterday I learned that I need to trust my instincts with him (and Kaleb) in all things. I am a mother, I can't ignore my heart when it comes to them. They were placed in my care and I am meant to protect them.

Yesterday I was in a second hand shop, I was going to look at boots, Josh was playing with toys in the toy section and Fizzy (my friend) was looking at books. I asked Fizzy if she would keep her eye on Josh for a minute while I went to another isle. As I walked away I passed a man, he was looking down, had dirty blond hair and looked scruffy. My first thought was that I had left Josh in the toy section, my gut told me this guy wasn't right. My second thought was that Fizzy was there and was watching him. As it turns out, my gut proved right again. The man approached the toys, picked up a doll and played with it a little bit before slowly inching towards Josh who was playing unaware on the floor. Fizzy saw the man approaching and moved closer to Josh, talking to him at the same time. The man, realising that Josh was with someone looked startled and quickly left the store.

My heart is sickened by the idea of what could have happened. Yet here I am, able to write, able to tell you about my son and how my mothers instinct wasn't wrong. I wanted to share this so that you other mothers out there, or fathers, could read and know that the gut isn't wrong. Trust yourself, and love your kids.

September 15, 2010

My bed and I

 Sometimes I just feel so tired that the prospect of sitting in bed reading all day actually brings tears to my eyes because I don't know when or if I will ever get to do that again. I love motherhood, I love being a wife and photographer and housekeeper and cook and all the other things that I have ended up being... but some days I just long to be Laurie again. Some days I would really like to go back 10 years, back to the days when I could and was selfish with my time. I did what I wanted, when I wanted and I so totally took it for granted!

My bed and I have a special relationship, a love affair of sorts. I crawl into it at night and we spend 6 blissful hours together (if I am lucky of course), then I get up in the morning, gently pat my bed and with tears on the verge of spilling over I say goodbye for another day. I am surprised that my bed still wants me with the little amount of time I spend working on that relationship, not to mention how I allow my sons to abuse it with thrown toys, and jumping that goes on some days. The poor thing is desperately loyal and while I would love to show it how much it means to me, I just can't find the time. I am scared one night I will go up those stairs to discover it has left me... (do you think flowers would help?)

So, while I love, and when I say love I mean really TRULY love my life, my kids and my many roles in this house... I also love Laurie and my bed and I would really like the chance to reconnect with both.

September 10, 2010

Who am I?

Over the past year I have watched a friend suffer at the hands of the 'justice' system that while meant to protect her has made more of a victim of her than she already was. I have sat with her while she struggled through trying to figure out what justice means, what hope really looks like, and what love should be but often isn't. I have listened to her long for reconciliation while I silently wonder why? Who am I to judge if she should forgive those that have hurt her? Who am I to say that I am better than they are? Am I not a sinner too? Are my sins not a horrible in the eyes of God's as theirs? Why do I feel more angry than she? As a Christian I am called to love my enemies, and yet I feel nothing but contempt for the people who have hurt her, when she can still love them, still hope for them, still long for a day when they will find healing. Who then is the bigger person?

There is nothing that makes me angrier than seeing 'Christians' throwing God's name around to justify their actions, or in actions as the case may be. Yet, am I better? Am I not just as guilty of similar sin patterns in my own life? Do I not look at them in the same judgemental way that they look at her?

My hope, my prayer is that there can be healing, that they can find the love that somehow they lost but my words and my secret thoughts doubt that it's possible. So, where is my faith in this? I pray for it but I doubt it's possibility. How then am I to respond? How am I supposed to love her in the midst of this? How do I put my own selfishness aside, my own anger and frustrations aside to allow God to move, in his time, in his way? How and when did this become about me?

I sit in a place of righteousness because I am on the 'right' side of the law in this matter. Yet, when it comes down to it I am unwilling to simply love my enemies. I am unable to pray for these people despite what my friend wants. I am angry, I am angry for her, but I am also angry because it's something I just do not understand. As a mother I find I cannot find any reason under the sun that would ever cause me to reject my blood, reject my sons for anyone. I cannot find any reason that could ever cause me to do anything but protect them, so I sit in my anger. I wallow in it because I do not understand it. Yet, how many times have I done things, or hurt people, or rejected someone and been repeatedly forgiven by God. Countless times I have been forgiven, countless times I have sinned. Who am I to judge these who have not even hurt me? Who am I to sit in anger over something not even done to me?

I have no answers, I can only hope and pray that when it comes time for God to judge me that I have moved beyond this hopeless anger, that I have let go of this particular need for vengeance and allowed God to show me mercy, grace and ultimately love. My prayers tonight will be asking for forgiveness, that I can be made into a better person through the course of this situation, and that instead of judging others I can somehow find a way to love them. Maybe you can pray for me too tonight.

September 1, 2010

New Year

So, it started in kindergarten, the confusion of when the new year ends and begins. I have always and will always feel like September is the month that begins everything anew, fresh paper, new books, clean erasers and freshly sharepened pencil crayons... it's the same now, but school is long since over for me. Now, although things don't change much from day to day or even month to month I still feel a new sense of drive and determination come September that I don't even really feel in January. The air feels cleaner, crisper (or it will when this heat wave eases) and everywhere I look there are people starting up again. Churches start their programs again, you start to see school buses loaded down with fresh recruits ready to start a new year of education and everyone returns from summer holidays ready to settle into work for the winter.

New beginnings are fun, they are sometimes filled with new challenges, or even new determination to do better, or work harder. For me this September is going to be filled with new hopes for the year. I will share those in the coming weeks. For now I just felt like sharing my thoughts about September and how if it were up to me, this would be New Years eve and I would be out celebrating! :)

Bring it on!

On another note entirely - Project Smile is still underway and I am getting mixed although better results. I still get strange looks but I am starting to wonder if it's actually me or the act of smiling that is strange... something I will ponder in the 'new year'.